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GameMasters Secret's Page
The GameMaster's Secrets
A Great Way to Win at Blackjack


Back in 1979, shortly after I learned how to count cards, two other counters and I formed a team to make some money. There are a lot of ways to play blackjack as a team and in the coming months I'll tell you some pretty incredible experiences I've had in doing that. But one of the simplest is the way we three extracted a lot of $$$ from Resorts and Caesar's in Atlantic City.

The rules for blackjack in A.C. at the time were very favorable for the player and all the pit personnel at the casinos were on the lookout for card-counters. They had good reason to be; the places were filled with all kinds of counters who were there to feast at the "candy store". My partners at the time , Jerry and Bob, felt as I did, that the "heat" was going to come down on counters sooner or later, so rather than playing aggressively as most teams were, we'd adopt a strategy which would ensure our longevity at the game. We all lived in New Jersey at the time, so we were very wary of overexposing ourselves, since we knew that the game was something we could "milk" for a long time, if we were smart.

And we were smart. You can do what we did, if you have a couple friends who are counters and you are a counter yourself, so gather 'round and listen to my story.

Probably the best way to play blackjack is to bet only when the count is in your favor. Since each shoe starts off with the casino having an edge over you (in AC at the time, a basic strategy player actually had an edge over the house!), it may take a while for the deck to go positive, if it ever gets there at all. One way around this is to "backcount". That's where you stand behind a table and just count the cards as they're played. If the count goes in your favor, you sit down and play, but if it moves in favor of the house, you just wait or walk off and find another table. If the casino is fairly crowded, you can usually pull this off, since it looks somewhat natural; you're just someone who's "checking out the action." But if the casino isn't crowded, or if the pit personnel are watching the games closely, a strategy like that can draw some unwanted attention. We overcame that by passing off the count to one another. Each of us would stand behind a different table, but in a way that we could see one another. Let's say the count at the table I was watching got positive enough for us to play (we waited until the true count got to 2); I'd give a prearranged signal (light a cigarette, take my glasses off, etc.) and either Jerry or Bob would come to my table. With a series of simple hand signals, I'd silently transmit the count to whoever came to play; he'd pick up the count from that point and play the shoe while I went to look for another. In this way, we'd spend the day "calling in" each other to play only favorable situations.

This can work with as few as two people and as many as four or five. Just work out your signals so there's no misunderstanding and combine your bankrolls which will allow you to bet more on each hand. Needless to say, the biggest hurdle to overcome is that of honesty. You must trust one another or you'll spend all your time worrying about theft, rather than going for the $$$. I've been on teams where people stole money -- lots of money -- and that's no fun at all. I never understood their motivation; if you are all good counters, you'll eventually get the bucks, but who can understand a thief?

If you'd like to try this, e-mail me with the details of your team, ie., number of players, bankroll, etc. and I'll help you with your money management. That's a very important part of team play, so at least listen to what I have to say.

 

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